Politicised memorial irks crowd

2014-01-04 00:00

CROWDS of people who attended little Jasmine-Lee Pretorius’s memorial service, dressed in pink, left in anger yesterday when the master of ceremonies thanked ANC politicians and police officers by name for attending.

“You’ve hijacked the service and politicised it! We’ve been here half-an-hour and Jasmine-Lee’s name hasn’t been mentioned,” Hannes Herbst, a member of the Boere Bikers’ Club, shouted before leading a walk-out of the pink-clad crowd, who prayed for a few minutes outside the church.

Only politicians, family members of the child — who was raped and murdered, allegedly by a relative — police and a few community members remained behind.

Senior figures, including national commissioner general Riah Phiyega, deputy economic development minister Hlengiwe Mkhize and senior police officers, were present at the police-organised service.

The crowd were angry that the service was conducted in English, not Afrikaans.

Jasmine-Lee’s father, Morné, and her maternal grandparents, pastors Colin and Barbara Bam, stayed behind. The family had said they would not attend, because of community anger against them.

Colin Bam apologised for the walk-out and thanked “our black countrymen” for standing by the family in their time of grief. He criticised people who attacked the child’s parents outside court on Monday, saying they were good parents who had no reason to suspect the alleged killer.

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